Disclaimer: Originally, I wanted to explain in detail my thoughts on crowd control, the many ways of mitigating or removing it, and what could be done to improve them, as an introduction, but ended up with about three pages' worth of text. I put those in two tabs you can check out below (and I recommend you do, as it explains all of the other changes here), but as an introduction, here are the general lines of what I want to address in this post:
- CC removal is bad for the game: As long as items like or exist, champions who are heavily dependent on long-cooldown, CC-intensive ults, such as or , will be at a severe disadvantage. I think cleanse effects such as these need to be reworked into spell shields, which carry more gameplay and are a bit less reliable, and so can afford to be a lot more powerful and rewarding for both sides.
- Crowd Control lacks clarity: Effects like suppression, stuns, knockups and suspension all have massive overlap in terms of gameplay and visuals, yet all interact in vastly different ways with items and other mechanics that interact with CC. We need a clearer, more unified system that streamlines all of these as much as possible to make direct visual feedback the most important element of CC, rather than the current problem of book-keeping, where several effects need to be looked up so as to determine how they interact with CC mitigation and the like.
- Tenacity is a bad mechanic: Crowd control reduction doesn't really function as a raw stat, because when stacked it devalues CC and limits counterplay more than it enables it. Champions need to be rewarded for actively blocking abilities and crowd control, instead of passively reducing the effectiveness of other champions' kits.
- Active reworked: now creates a 1.5-second spell shield that blocks the next enemy ability. 45 second cooldown.
is currently a problem item: while I won't go into details (which are in one of the above tabs), the main issue with it is that it hard-counters ultimates with higher cooldowns. Buy one, and can't ult you without getting denied. By just pressing a button, the current Quicksilver active allows you to negate plays that require far more effort and resources, so it needs to change. However, it can't just be removed, because champions who already tend to die when they get caught (i.e. most immobile champions, especially immobile marksmen) would have no way of surviving dives or CC-heavy abilities. What I propose instead is to turn the item's cleanse into a spell shield: while less reliable (you need to anticipate your opponent's plays and not just react to them post-hoc), an effect like this could allow for potentially a lot more power, both through the effect (you can negate an ability's damage on top of its CC or debuffs) and through lower cooldowns.
Along with this, I want to standardize cleanse and spell shields so that they all stem from this item:has pretty much the same cleanse effect as QSS, bar interaction with non-CC debuffs and suppression, and also grants MR. used to be a strong anti-poke and anti-dive item thanks to its spell shield, but received a lot of harsh nerfs due to how strong the passive was against dive-heavy comps. I feel all of these items can build from a Quicksilver Sash, and receive appropriate changes, which is why I slightly nerfed the MR on QSS so that it can fit into their recipes. Putting all of these under a single named effect would also prevent champions from stacking multiple spell shield items, which would obviously have a poor impact on gameplay otherwise.
- New recipe: 225 (total cost unchanged). + +
- Life steal removed.
- Active reworked: now creates a 1.5-second spell shield that blocks the next enemy ability, granting 50% bonus movement speed for 2 seconds upon a successful block. 45 second cooldown.
Not that big a change here, save for turning the cleanse into a spell shield. While an effect like this would no longer offer as much of a reliable escape if you do get caught by an ability, timing the spell shield right could potentially allow for far more saves overall. In view of this, I think the bonus upon blocking an ability could also be significantly buffed: right now, it can't be too strong, otherwise it would just be a get-out-of-jail free card for any AD champion using it, but on a spell shield it would instead be an awesome reward to blocking the right ability at the right time.
Another thing to note is that I made this post before V5.22, which gave life steal, and I still don't think the item needs it. The stat was mainly thrown in just to make the item more attractive to reluctant marksmen who felt like they didn't have enough space in their inventory to pick it, and I don't think that really does much good to the stat or the item. Marksman itemization is a lot better now, and with additional improvements it could stand to include a defensive item with fewer than two offensive bonuses.
- New recipe: 300. + +
- Cooldown reduction removed.
- Now deals 10 bonus physical damage on-hit.
- Active reworked: now creates a 1.5-second spell shield that blocks the next enemy ability, granting +50% movement speed for 2 seconds upon a successful block. 45 second cooldown.
Not much to say here, consideringis basically outside of Summoner's Rift. As for the recipe change, it's not entirely related to the topic of this blog post, but I think should be phased out of the game, as it's an item that doesn't feel particularly good or strong on its own, and would be much better off being replaced by on the items it covers. This does remove a source of CDR for AD champions, but then again this is already an item primarily tuned towards autoattackers.
- New recipe: 265. + + +
- Mana regeneration removed (see here for an explanation).
- Now grants 60 ability power.
- Mana Font passive removed.
- Active reworked: now creates a 1.5-second spell shield on yourself and an allied champion that blocks the next enemy ability. 45 second cooldown.
- Using the active without selecting a target will automatically shield you and the nearest alliied champion, or just yourself if no allies are in range.
is a problem item in many ways: it's basically an extra QSS for the marksman, except it's purchased by the support, making it one of the few remaining "old-fashioned" support items ( being another) that turn the support into an additional item bank for the rest of their team, instead of offering genuinely interesting personal bonuses. Additionally, the in its recipe comes from a pre-4.20 mana regen system, where you could expect to completely eliminate your mana problems with just one item, and is now outdated. Despite this, however, the combination of its 100% mana regen (the best you can find on any one item) and the Mana Font passive means it's still capable of single-handedly offering all the mana regen a champion might need. In addition to its massively strong cleanse+heal active, this means the item's mandatory for practically every support in every game, especially in competitive play, which also means bot laners such as and end up having a really hard time once the enemy support builds this item.
The changes I want to make to this item all boil down to making it less reliable and more niche, but also more fun for the support buying Mikael's. I removed its mana regeneration completely, though for separate reasons which I explain better here, and instead gave it a nice amount of ability power, which should let the caster marksmen who build this scale better. Its active is significantly less reliable, but also potentially far more powerful (it has a quarter of the current cooldown on Mikael's), and more importantly, it's beneficial to the support as well. I want to change as well (see next tab), and so I really want this to be the go-to anti-spell item for caster supports. I removed the heal here, since the spell shield would negate the ability's damage already, which Mikael's does in a less interactive way, but also because its max-health scaling makes it work better on tanky champions, despite the item being primarily used on marksmen.
If there's anything I'm not sure of on the above item, it's the double spell shield: the reasoning behind this is that I want the support to be able to protect themselves, in addition to protecting the marksman/VIP, but if this makes the item too powerful I think it would be better to limit the spell shield to just one target. The important point here is that, despite still having the potential to cancel powerful abilities, and do so far more often than before, the active here should be a lot more difficult to use reliably, and should allow the wielder's opponent to outplay the spell shield or otherwise preempt it.
- New recipe: + + 350g (total cost unchanged).
- Passive removed.
- New active: now creates a 1.5-second spell shield that blocks the next enemy ability, healing for 10% maximum health upon a successful block. 45 second cooldown.
- Now replaces on the Crystal Scar.
isn't the most problematic item out there, but it nonetheless has a couple of issues: first off, its always-on spell shield is extremely inhibitive to engages, as it can nullify dives and forces the enemy team to pop it with another ability, and thereby make itself known. It's also singlehandedly capable of seriously messing up combo/burst mages, as well as melee champions with difficult to no access to ranged spells. For this reason, its spell shield had to have its cooldown doubled a while ago. On the flipside, though, the fact that it's always on means that it can be popped with any trivial bit of poke, forcing an excessively long cooldown. Effectively, it has far too much variance on the returns brought by the spell shield, mainly because its use is out of the player's control.
To remedy this, I think it would be to the item's advantage if it followed the same model as the others here, and had its spell shield turned into an active (it would also just make plain sense to tie every spell shield item down to one component). At the cost of a bit of reliability, turning the passive shield into an active would grant the wielder a measure of control, allowing them to block the right ability given proper timing. It could potentially be an even better tool against high-burst AP champions, especially with the heal on successful block, but wouldn't offer guaranteed protection against a combo. The reason I moved the heal from Mikael's Crucible over to here is because I think Banshee's deserves to offer a strong personal reward upon blocking a spell, and also because a percent max health heal would work better on a tanky item than a caster support item primarily designed to protect marksmen.
As for it replacing, while I'm not familiar with the current state of Dominion, I think the original split was made because the old Banshee's was way too strong a magic resistance item to exist there. Perhaps that still holds now, though Odyn's provides similar amounts of tankiness on top of more damage. Odyn's effect is interesting (it's a mini- ult), and could perhaps be ported to another item, but here I think it would likely be better to just bridge the item gap in-between different game modes.
- New recipe: 100 (total cost unchanged). + +
- Passive removed.
- New active: now creates a 1.5-second spell shield that blocks the next enemy ability, doubling the item's bonuses for 2 seconds upon a successful block. 45 second cooldown.
is a fairly quiet item, mainly because it's not one you'd find on Summoner's Rift, and I think it has the potential to be improved a bit and made available in all modes. I want to remove CC reduction as a stat (see the relevant tab for why), and while Tenacity is the reason why this item isn't allowed to be shipped to SR, I think this can still be made a good anti-CC item for AP bruisers in a more general sense. By moving most of its anti-spell power to an active, it would work like the lighter version of a , with MR instead of large amounts of AP. The active is also meant to reward opportunistic AP bruisers, who not only want to use this ability to block a spell, but who would also like it to make an easier escape or hit harder when initiating.
Elixir of Iron
- Tenacity removed.
- Path of Iron movement speed bonus increased to 25% from 15%.
Changing the game's elixirs from temporary stat boosts to genuinely interesting and unique consumables was a fantastic move, and one that made late-game decision-making a lot more interesting. The recent removal ofand addition of health onto , a change made long after this post was first made (partial predictions!), improved the situation even more. However, I still think the elixir needs to lose its Tenacity, not only because the stat itself isn't really good for the game, but also because it creates issues when stacked, as is the case with , whose counterplay-reducing passive gets even worse with the elixir.
On top of item-based CC mitigation, a few champions have access to free Tenacity (the stat), which tends to cause issues when stacked (the champions in question become hard to control, and risk ignoring the brunt of well-placed CC in combat). CC immunity is already powerful, and should be tightly controlled, but passive CC reduction tends to fall into issues of power without gameplay, and may actually reduce gameplay overall. For this reason, I think it needs to go:
- : Currently grants up to 30% CC reduction when active. I think Mundo needs a rework overall, as he doesn't really present rich gameplay or a unique gameplay fantasy (he's a meatshield, but he could fulfill that role in a more unique manner). Most of his kit's power is placed into passive bonuses, including this, and I think it needs to be made more interesting and interactive overall.
- : Currently grants up to 40% CC reduction. Irelia's been a mess since her release, and I think she has so many serious issues with her kit (unclear sustain, uncounterable damage, low interactivity) that she may need a rework or even an overhaul. However, her passive is by far her biggest problem: alone, it already makes Irelia extremely hard to deal with in teamfights, and when she builds Merc Treads she becomes nearly impossible to lock down properly by any individual champion. With Preseason 5's new itemization, she can reach 75% CC reduction, which is ridiculous, and a prime example of why Tenacity shouldn't be a stackable stat.
- What not to necessarily remove: . Currently it grants up to 25% slow reduction. Unlike the above effects, which carry little to no gameplay, Frost Armor requires Sejuani to be in combat and does present a certain level of interaction. It's not exactly the most interesting or visible effect around, so if it were to be replaced with another bonus that accomplished a similar function (bonus movement speed, for example) I'd be all up for it. As it stands, however, I don't think Sejuani would become problematic with her existing passive. If she had to have it changed, I'd go with something along the lines of "Sejuani applies Frost to enemies she damages, causing her to take X% less damage from them for the next Y seconds", and have not consume Frost, which would put emphasis on her in-fight tankiness and make her an even better initiator.
The only CC reduction mastery out there is. As long as masteries remain, it should probably stay as well, though I also think masteries should probably themselves be removed, as the power they grant, including this bonus, tends to not be visible enough, even with Keystones in play, and serve as a barrier to entry without really offering all that much in the way of choice or novel gameplay (pretty much every champion has one set mastery path, with little to no variation).
What About Boots?
I mention this in more detail in another blog post, but I think it might be better to remove boots entirely, so in this case and would disappear. The reason why I'm not a fan of boots is because they're a) seriously lacking in gameplay (bar , no set of boots is really unique or interesting in its own right), b) mandatory despite being seriously lacking in gameplay, and c) responsible for homogenizing the speed of champions when they could have much more variance in their late-game mobility. I think the way to go is to tweak the movement speed of every champion so they'd still have a base amount, but would also gain scaling movement speed per level (sort of like mini ), which would compensate for the loss of boots but not in the same way on every champion (ranged champions would mostly have less movement speed late-game than melee champions, for example). Interesting boot effects or enchantments (Boots of Mobility's effect) could be moved to trinket enchantments, which I also want to change.
- and removed.
- New summoner spell, Phase: become immune to damage and crowd control for 2 seconds. 300 second cooldown.
and both need an update. Both are outclassed by significantly better or cheaper effects: does more than Barrier in almost every way, and cleanse items like QSS and Mikael's offer much cheaper CC removal. As long as they remain in their current state, they'll always remain in a situation where they'll be in a numbers race with other summoner spells and effects. However, they also have a lot of overlap: Barrier is good for blocking bursts of damage, and Cleanse is good at mitigating bursts of crowd control. By combining the two effects into a single, much clearer one (total immunity for a short time), the resulting spell could carve out its own niche as a clutch-enabler for critical situations and perfect plays, offering its own distinct advantages without treading on the toes of other summoner spells.
Right now, there are too many different ways of locking people down. There are stuns, which can be mitigated with Tenacity, and knockups, which cannot. There are also suspension effects, which look like knockups but can have their duration reduced, and Suppression effects, which look like stuns but cannot be softened. It's a big case of lack of clarity, and one I think can be solved by unifying all of these effects.
For starters, I think one big move towards clarity should be to make knockups reducible by CC reduction and cleansed by whichever abilities can still do that (, , etc.). This would make knockups identical to suspension effects ( , and ), and functionally identical to stuns bar their interaction with , though the difference would be clear. While this alone would be a nerf to him, the removal of Tenacity would leave his initiation potential unharmed. The sort-of exception here is lateral displacement, which should always knock enemies across the same distance, even if CC reduction would speed that up a little. Aside from that, stuns and knockups would both fall into the exact same CC category, with the only difference being in visual feedback and interaction with Last Breath.
Another big change I want to make is get rid of the Suppression effect completely. A suppress is basically a stun, but implemented in such a manner that it cannot be reduced. I think the best example of how to change the effect would be: it's a silence that cannot be mitigated by Tenacity, as its application is dependent on the target standing in the AoE, and not on their itemization. Suppresses could work along the same lines, by working as stuns whose conditionals do not depend on CC reduction:
- , and should all stun the target as long as the channel lasts. This is pretty much the same as their current functionality (hard CC against these champions breaks the suppress), so there would be no change in gameplay, particularly as all other exceptions to suppression would be removed. These champions likely all need gameplay changes, as their CC is point-and-click and often associated with heavy damage, but this change would just remove the mention of suppression.
- should just stun the target as long as the link between them and Skarner holds, with the link lasting 1.75 seconds. Again, no gameplay change, but this would remove the need for an extraneous form of CC.
- Not a suppress, but 's taunt, which is immune to CC, should just be tied to his channel: as long as the channel holds, all enemies in the AoE should be taunted by Galio. Again, this wouldn't really change gameplay, but it would standardize the framing of Galio's crowd control according to existing rules, instead of being another exception to look up.
Farther down the line, I think changing CC as a whole would likely lead to lower durations on super-long CC such asor . Their strength looks inflated specifically to deal with Tenacity, and in a game increasingly focused on quicker plays these overly long disables are becoming less popular, and less fun to deal with. Changes like these would likely invite further rebalancing of the champions in question (they could become more powerful elsewhere, or have more opportunities to lay down shorter CC), and I think it would be for the better.
- The speed of all dashes now scales with the user's movement speed, updated in real time.
- If the target is rooted, knocked airborne or stunned, the dash is interrupted (composite effects like Entangle, which includes a snare, also count).
- All dashes have their base speed reduced accordingly.
- The travel speed of also follows these rules.
Dashes have the potential to be a lot more nuanced than they are now. Originally, lots of champions were created with gapclosers as an answer to champions with overly long slows (especially), since dashes allow the user to quickly leave or enter any situation. While this kind of mobility's been handled increasingly better (most recent or newly reworked champions pay a genuine price for their gapclosers, instead of just having one on top of the rest of a functional kit), dashes still sort of run on arcade fighting game rules, where using them gives you frames of CC immunity. While that's sort of meaningful on champions who overtly become CC immune while ulting, a lot of the time it devalues crowd control by "burning" time spent CCed while dashing. It also devalues ground-targeted slows such as , and , which can easily be jumped over. Dashes need to interact better with their environment, instead of mostly working in a vacuum. One of the main advantages of knockups (and likely one of the reasons they're picked so often) is their ability to interrupt dashes, and I think that's something every form of hard movement-stopping CC should benefit from.
On the flipside, I also think this would be an opportunity to make dashes evolve organically over the course of the game. Unlike actual movement, which starts out slow and gets better as champions buy boots and get bonus movement speed from other sources, dashes always have the same speed at all times (barand , which happen to scale with their movement speed). This can sometimes create problems: , for example, is extremely unpleasant to lane against early on because her + combo deals a lot of damage and is extremely hard to avoid at low amounts of movement speed. If her dash speed were balanced around her early game only, though, it would be overly difficult for her to juke properly in the late game. Similar things can be said about Zed, whose Living Shadow lets him instantly turn into a long-range poking machine in lane and become practically ungankable, but who also depends on his shadow's speed to smoothly enter and exit fights later on. Having their dashes (or, in Zed's case, his shadow) start out a bit slower and scale with movement speed would solve the issue and give them the best of both worlds. Additionally, it could open up strategic options on a great deal many champions: having dashes scale with movement speed would allow champions with to perform ultra-quick initiations, at the cost of slower escapes and in-fight gapclosers. Overall, integrating movement speed into mobility would likely make the whole system more intuitive, and would allow movement speed to be valued as a genuine form of scaling, rather than just another bonus.
In a League of Legends that stresses the importance of clarity and direct visual feedback, crowd control as a system is surprisingly lacking in either, despite being core to the game. The biggest example of this is the sheer amount of CC effects that overlap, but have wildly different counters, namely stuns, suppresses, knockups and suspension: all of these hold your champion in place and temporarily remove control, but while stuns and suspension are mitigated by CC reduction, suppresses and knockups are not. All of these effects, except for knockup, can be cleansed with a, but suppression can't be cleansed with Mikael's or the Cleanse summoner spell. There is no visual differentiation between suppression and stuns bar the status indicator, or between knockups and suspension (i.e. 's bubble, 's E or 's ultimate), and they all accomplish the exact same function, yet they can't be dealt with in the same way. This creates a serious book-keeping problem, where knowledge of these effects boils down not to immediate and clear visual/gameplay feedback, but rather to looking up which effect does what and is countered by which mechanic on the wiki.
A symptom of this lack of clarity is knockup creep: out of the ten most recently released champions, eight have some kind of effect that knocks their target into the air or displaces them (the only two exceptions beingand ). It's not uncommon to see team comps with more knockup than any other kind of crowd control, and so we might be seeing a form of knockup creep in the same vein as mobility creep, where most new champions have some kind of gapcloser. Just as mobility creep runs the risk of devaluing less mobile champions, knockup creep devalues typical means of dealing with CC, namely CC reduction, as well as CC that is mitigated or countered by those same means. The main reason given for this surge in knockups is that they're clearer and more easily appreciable than more "traditional" forms of hard CC, such as stuns. Effectively, what this means is that stuns and other, "older" forms of crowd control are just not clear enough, and need to be brought up to par with modern standards of clarity. What this means, in most cases, is that older champions would need to have visual updates that emphasized the visual feedback of these crowd control effects, so that they'd be as impactful as knockups. For example, 's ultimate gives very poor indication of its unique Entangle effect (you can't move or attack, but can still cast spells), as it looks exactly like a stun, whereas 's Polymorph gives amazing visual feedback, since the crowd control it exerts (silence, disarm and slow) directly relates to being turned into a harmless critter. As long as more traditional crowd control remains unclear and difficult to appreciate, knockup creep will remain a real risk.
The end goal of this, I think, should be to streamline and standardize CC as much as possible, so that there's no redundancy to effects that have the same impact on gameplay. Suppresses could easily be turned into stuns, knockups and suspension could be made the same (they look the same already), and all of these effects could follow the same rules of mitigation and gameplay, with the sole exception of their interaction with(which has clear visual indication). On top of this, I think CC reduction, which works only by devaluing power that doesn't react well to being reduced (CC is essential in landing combos), should be removed entirely from itemization and champion kits, which would significantly improve clarity overall by making CC a lot simpler. This might also allow champions like and to have hard CC with slightly lesser durations, since their 3-second stun/root is likely also the product of CC inflation in order to compensate for Tenacity's current 35% crowd control reduction.
One of the core gameplay tenets of League of Legends is meaningful counterplay, that is, the ability to react to, mitigate, recover from or take advantage of the plays an opponent makes, in a manner that is fair to both parties. Skillshots are a great example of a mechanic with meaningful counterplay, for example, because any champion can move out of their way, which also allows them to carry enough power to have a significant impact when they land. There are two opposites to meaningful counterplay: one is just a lack of counterplay, pure and simple, which occurs when an opponent's plays are difficult or impossible to outplay to any significant degree. A good example of this would be old's point-and-click stun, which dealt a ton of damage and was impossible to avoid once in range. These are usually easy to identify, and are being phased out of the game. Another, more subtle detractor from meaningful counterplay is non-meaningful counterplay, that is, the ability to counter a play or mechanic that does not hinge on genuine skill, gameplay, or any kind of investment approaching the one put into the original play/mechanic, and that is therefore not meaningful. This kind of counterplay is harder to identify, but usually takes the form of a hard counter: hard counters are effects that harshly impede or completely nullify another mechanic, to the point where the existence of one invalidates the other. True sight, for example, hard counters stealth by completely removing it, and Grievous Wounds (healing reduction) hard counters healing and regen by reducing them to excessively weak values. Another hard counter, and the main target of this post, is crowd control removal.
CC removal, as found on, and , is the ability to completely negate crowd control after its application. This also makes the effect a hard counter, since its use nullifies another mechanic (CC) entirely without any gameplay (i.e. the effect is just a reactive button press, rather than something you'd use in anticipation of an ability). While this hard counter potential is mostly mitigated by the effect's high cost (these actives have high cooldowns, and the items required to use them are typically expensive), this no longer applies when used against abilities that are, themselves, high-cost, namely ultimates such as , , or . Cleanse items are one of the reasons why the likes of , and tend to not be viable in competitive play, because their biggest and most important plays (and therefore their heaviest investment) can be negated by the press of a button. However, simply removing cleanse wouldn't work, since a lot of squishy immobile champions would then get popped the moment they get locked on. To resolve this, I propose to shift the gameplay in these effects, and place the reward on anticipation, and not pure binary reaction. Basically, instead of cleansing CC, these items should offer active spell shields, which wouldn't hard-counter CC (you can't remove a stun/root/etc. once it's applied, and your opponents can anticipate your spell shield), but which in exchange could afford to be a lot more powerful, rewarding and versatile.
Another effect that ties into this is: right now, it's fallen out of favor, mainly because it can be easily replicated through items. I think it could be possible to combine it with in order to form a much cleaner, tighter summoner spell, one that would carve out its own niche without having to do more than any other spell (which is Barrier's current problem, as it's outperformed by ).
What do you think? This post is a bit long, and I recommend you first look at the last two tabs to understand where I'm coming from: what's your opinion on CC as a whole? How well do you think the system works, and do you think it needs to change? If so, do you agree with the above suggestions, or would you suggest something different?